Yeah…the title says it all. We been makin’ progress on the house but still have some to go…but we’re sort of in a hold pattern until we get the stuff from our storage unit up in VA. As I write this Monday morning…the spare bedroom still looks like a warehouse and the office looks a bit less like one…we’re waiting on our roll top desk to be able to finish the office and waiting on the bed for the spare bedroom until we get all the boxes from VA unpacked.
We’ve had a busy 10 days in the house though…working some every day to get things organized and the master, kitchen, and living room are pretty much done although there will be some minor changes when we get the storage unit stuff. We’ve also headed out to the Elks a couple of times, ate broasted chicken at Steve’s Place one night…and grilled on the lanai a bit.
The past couple of days it’s been a bit cool…lows in the 40s and 50s and highs in the low 70s but starting tomorrow weather will be more normal with low 60s and high 70s to low 80s. On the other hand…we are heading out early Wednesday morning to catch our flight to Richmond via Dulles in the DC area…weather up there for our visit will be lows in the high 30s to mid 40s and highs in the 50s…but it’s not supposed to snow while we are there so that’s good. After arriving on Wednesday…we’ll spend Thursday and Friday sorting out the storage unit to see if there was anything termite damaged besides the table we already know we lost and piling things to be tossed out to one side. Saturday morning…we’ll take Bryan’s stuff over to his house and then load ours…although we may load it all at once and put his near the door if we decide the truck is enough for that…and once his stuff is dropped off we’ll have pizza with our loading crew, say our “until next times to the kids and Alex”. Sunday morning we’ll start the trek home in the U-haul truck…it’s about 900 miles straight down I-95 to Jax then down US-301 to I-75 in Ocala then to home. We’ll take our usual bypass route around the Jax beltway to miss the traffic there and the construction on the short portion of I-10 we would have been on…we’ll overnight somewhere between Savannah and Brunswick GA before continuing on home on Monday. Tuesday morning will be truck unload day…our friend Jeff is going to come over and help with the stuff Connie can’t lift easily…we’ll unload all the boxes into the garage and spare bedroom warehouse and put the heavy stuff (all furniture) in place where it needs to be.
Yesterday after Mass…Connie went out on the lanai to sit in the sun for a few minutes as she was cold and it was warmer outside than in…and just as quickly called for Neil to come out with the camera as we had a visitor in the pond besides Ragnar. Sure enough…he popped out and discovered a male Snowy Egret with his mating plumage about half grown out hunting lunch out there. He snuck out the side door, setup his tripod and grabbed a few…well, 200…photos of the critter. I’ve sorted ‘em down for ya so there are only 14 below. I coulda cut it down a bit more…but Snowy’s are such beautiful birds, especially when it is mating season…so I didn’t do that.
He spotted Ragnar near out side of the pond before he focused in on the Snowy.
Looking at his rear end and the back of his head…you can see the mating plumage…composed of really wispy light feathers rather than the normal flight feathers like the wings have or the body feathers.
This one shows why this bird is also known as Golden Slippers…the brightly colored feet are actually the normal feeding mechanism. Slight aside here…how come some long legged wading birds are called herons and some are egrets…and what’s the difference. They are both members of the same biological family but are basically divided into the two based on several characteristics. Egrets are primarily white, have much greater amounts of mating plumage than herons, and the name egret is derived from the French word aigrette which means plumage feathers as these feathers are used for hat decorations. Egrets also fly with their neck extended whereas a heron retracts it. Herons are also generally larger and more colorful. Anyways…back to Snowy feeding mechanism. Most wading birds are what one would call ambush predators. They stand very still in the water and move slowly around by lifting one leg free or almost free of the water when moving it then putting it straight down to the bottom…essentially waiting on their prey to come to them then striking downwards to grab it. Snowy egrets use a completely different mechanism normally. They shuffle their golden feet along the bottom string up prey from the bottom and/or using the brightly colored feet to attract their prey (thinking it is something for the prey to eat). They then strike down and grab the prey. This one however…seemed to have a different mechanism than we’ve seen before…rather than the slow walk it mostly flew 8 or 10 feet to pounce on top of something. It must have done that a dozen times while we watched it.
From the above shot…it went about 10 feet and landed then almost immediately came back to the original location. You can get a good sense of the 24 inch or so height and 5-6 foot wingspan in both of these shots.
Ah…gotta scratch that itch…which gives another great show of the breeding plumage.
A short flight series ending in head underwater grabbing whatever it was he was catching…it was swallowed too quickly to get any idea of what it was.
Followed almost immediately by another back to the right.
All in all…a pretty decently spent 20 minutes or so.
On to interesting stuff found on the net.
I thought the detail in this was pretty incredible for a marble sculpture…carved 19 inch bust of the veiled Virgin Mary by Giovanni Strazza in the 1850s. Pretty amazing detail in the folds of the veil and how it slightly obscures the face…and he did all this with a hammer and chisel.
Seniors will appreciate this one.
And married men will appreciate these two.
And let’s not leave out the married women.
Don’t ferget…Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend.